Running Your Business

Cyber Monday Productivity: Keeping Employees Engaged


  • Cyber Monday is one of the most unproductive days of the year, as employees attempt to do some online shopping throughout the workday

  • Addressing the issue directly will ensure your office maintains productivity

  • Allow employees to take Cyber Monday off without pay, use their earned PTO or make up the hours throughout the rest of the week

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Posted by November 21, 2017

With Cyber Monday spending totaling $3.45 billion in 2016, it’s likely that a few of your employees will be sneaking some shopping into the workday this year. It’s thought to be one of the least productive workdays of the year, but business still needs to go on despite the sales.

Don’t let Cyber Monday productivity issues tank your team’s motivation. Instead, learn how to combat the problem and keep your employees happy and engaged.

Offer Your Employees the Day Off

While this may be the least realistic option for most organizations, there is a reason to consider it. You already know your employees are going to be distracted—so why treat the work day like any other? Allow employees to take the day off without pay, use their earned leave time or make up the hours throughout the rest of the week. Many employees will be attracted to the idea of making a long weekend even longer and doing their shopping from the privacy of their own homes.

If it’s necessary you stay open, incentivize those who want to come into work with a payroll differential. As long as they don’t shop while covering the day’s duties, this could be a good option.

Be Clear With Your Internet Usage Policy

You either allow shopping at work, or you don’t. If you’re in the camp of no personal computer usage whatsoever, reinforce that early. In advance of the consumer holiday, send out a memo stating that shopping online at work is against company policy, and attach the policy to refresh your staff’s memory. Be direct and send a reminder email the morning of Cyber Monday.

For those who don’t mind personal computer usage during the workday, announce to your employees that you’re comfortable with them shopping for the best deals but you trust them not to let productivity wane because of it. Suggest they come prepared with a schedule of when their favorite deals will be available. This way, they can focus on their job responsibilities throughout the rest of the day. And, while it doesn’t need to be stated, it is important to let your team know (whether verbally or in writing) that a customer should never be ignored while employees use their work computers for personal reasons.

Schedule Shopping Hours

If all of your employees are searching for deals at the same time, they’ll likely be taxing the internet connectivity. Don’t assume that just because they are using their phones, there won’t be issues. Mobile shopping can potentially affect an organization’s Wi-Fi, leading to larger business problems than just loss of productivity.

Being proactive and scheduling times throughout the day that employees can shop online will save your systems and sanity. This can be accomplished by dictating the hours shopping is allowed, such as lunchtime.

No-Shopping Bonuses

Let’s face it: finances are one of the biggest reasons your employees are taking to the Cyber Monday deals. They want to get the best prices and they’re willing to sacrifice work time (and potentially their good standing at work) to get those sales. A financial bonus for refraining from shopping during work may be all they need to keep their attention where it should be—on their work responsibilities. Think of it as an early holiday bonus!

Be Present

No one wants to be a micromanager, but if you need to make sure Cyber Monday productivity is at an all-time high, you need to make your presence known. Make a point to walk through the workspace and check in with employees throughout the day. This doesn’t mean they won’t be shopping on their phones, but it will be a visual reminder that you demand a professional presence on a notoriously unproductive day.

There are many options for keeping your staff’s attention during a distracting time like Cyber Monday. First, determine your policy on digital shopping during the workday. Then, choose to either police your staff or trust them. Addressing the issue head-on will ensure your office maintains productivity.

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